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How to Fix Grass I Burned With Fertilizer

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

A yellow burned lawn is an eye sore that can only be fixed by reseeding all affected areas. The process of reseeding is time consuming but will be worth it once the lawn is in full vigor. The entire lawn does not have to be replaced if the burn is isolated to small areas. Simply remove only the damaged lawn and reseed. Prevent future lawn burn by carefully following fertilizer instructions or using an organic option that does not contain chemicals.

Verify the reason for the lawn burn. Grass will turn yellow due to an over application of high nitrogen fertilizer. The lawn will also turn yellow when it goes dormant in the fall.

Rake the lawn to remove as much dead grass as possible. Remove several inches of soil if the herbicide was not a high nitrogen type.

Water the soil generously for one week to leach away excess nitrogen.

Use a tiller to dig the lawn soil to a depth of 6 inches. Remove vegetation that remains so the lawn is smooth. Apply a thin layer of compost to the top of the soil.

Lightly pack the soil with a lawn roller. Fill in noticeable low spots to create a smooth soil surface.

Apply a layer of grass seed or lay sod to replace the burned grass. Apply a layer of straw mulch over newly sown grass seed.

Water the lawn thoroughly daily for the first two weeks. This will assist with seed germination or help the sod set roots. Continue to water several times a week to prevent the grass from drying.

Apply fertilizer in the spring and fall seasons following the reseeding. Follow the instructions closely to prevent burning the grass. Use a fish emulsion or urine based fertilizer, as they are not prone to grass burn.


Things You Will Need

  • Rake
  • Water
  • Tiller
  • Compost
  • Lawn roller
  • Grass seed or sod
  • Fish emulsion fertilizer
  • Urine fertilizer


  • Have your soil tested at a county or university Extension office. The soil test will include recommendations on the type of fertilizer needed for best results.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.